Inventions and Discovery ----------aeroplane


The Wright brothers invented and flew the first airplane in 1903, recognized as "the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight". They built on the works of George Cayley dating from 1799, when he set forth the concept of the modern airplane (and later built and flew models and successful passenger-carrying gliders). Between 1867 and 1896, the German pioneer of human aviation Otto Lilienthal also studied heavier-than-air flight. Following its limited use in World War I, aircraft technology continued to develop. Airplanes had a presence in all the major battles of World War II. The first jet aircraft was the German Heinkel He 178 in 1939. The first jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet, was introduced in 1952. The Boeing 707, the first widely successful commercial jet, was in commercial service for more than 50 years, from 1958 to at least 2013.

              1903-The Wright Flyer: the first sustained flight with a powered, controlled aircraft.


The history of aviation has extended over more than two thousand years, from the earliest forms of aviation, kites and attempts at tower jumping, to supersonic, and hypersonic flight by powered, heavier-than-air jets.

Kite flying in China dates back to several hundred years BC and slowly spread around the world. It is thought to be the earliest example of man-made flight. Some kites in China and Japan were capable of carrying a man into the air. The ancient Chinese also flew small hot-air lanterns and bamboo-copter toys with spinning rotors.

Leonardo da Vinci's 15th-century dream of flight found expression in several rational but unscientific designs, though he did not attempt to construct any of them.

The discovery of hydrogen gas in the 18th century led to the invention of the hydrogen balloon, at almost exactly the same time that the Montgolfier brothers rediscovered the hot-air balloon and began manned flights.Various theories in mechanics by physicists during the same period of time, notably fluid dynamics and Newton's laws of motion, led to the foundation of modern aerodynamics, most notably by Sir George Cayley.

Balloons, both free-flying and tethered, began to be used for military purposes from the end of the 18th century, with the French government establishing Balloon Companies during the Revolution.

The term aviation, noun of action from stem of Latin avis "bird" was coined in 1863 by French pioneer Guillaume Joseph Gabriel de La Landelle (1812–1886) in "Aviation ou Navigation aérienne".

Experiments with gliders provided the groundwork for heavier-than-air craft, and by the early 20th-century advances in engine technology and aerodynamics made controlled, powered flight possible for the first time. The modern aeroplane with its characteristic tail was established by 1909 and from then on the history of the aeroplane became tied to the development of more and more powerful engines.

The first great ships of the air were the rigid dirigible balloons pioneered by Zeppelin, which soon became synonymous with airships and dominated long-distance flight until the 1930s, when large flying boats became popular. After World War II, the flying boats were in their turn replaced by land planes, and the new and immensely powerful jet engine revolutionised both air travel and military aviation.

In the latter part of the 20th century the advent of digital electronics produced great advances in flight instrumentation and "fly-by-wire" systems. The 21st century saw the large-scale use of pilotless drones for military, civilian and leisure use.


400 BC-  (Chinese Kites)

Chinese used kites in religious ceremonies and discovered that these could fly.The kite may have been the first form of man-made aircraft.It was invented in China possibly as far back as the 5th century BC by Mozi (Mo Di) and Lu Ban (Gongshu Ban).Later designs often emulated flying insects, birds, and other beasts, both real and mythical. Some were fitted with strings and whistles to make musical sounds while flying.

Ancient and medieval Chinese sources describe kites being used to measure distances, test the wind, lift men, signal, and communicate and send messages.Kites spread from China around the world. After its introduction into India, the kite further evolved into the fighter kite, where an abrasive line is used to cut down other kites.

1485 AD- (Leonardo da Vinci's Flying Machine)

Italian artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci made drawings of flying machines with flapping wings.

                                            One of Leonardo's sketches

Eventually some investigators began to discover and define some of the basics of rational aircraft design. Most notable of these was Leonardo da Vinci, although his work remained unknown until 1797, and so had no influence on developments over the next three hundred years. While his designs were at least rational, they were not based on particularly good science.From the last years of the 15th century on he wrote about and sketched many designs for flying machines and mechanisms, including ornithopters, fixed-wing gliders, rotorcraft and parachutes. His early designs were man-powered types including ornithopters and rotorcraft, however he came to realise the impracticality of this and later turned to controlled gliding flight, also sketching some designs powered by a spring.

1670 AD- (Francesco Lana de Terzi's flying boat concept )

In 1670 Francesco Lana de Terzi published a work that suggested lighter than air flight would be possible by using copper foil spheres that, containing a vacuum, would be lighter than the displaced air to lift an airship. While theoretically sound, his design was not feasible: the pressure of the surrounding air would crush the spheres. The idea of using vacuum to produce lift is now known as vacuum airship but remains unfeasible with any current materials.

1783 AD -(Hot Air Ballon)

Joseph-Michel Montgolfier (26 August 1740 – 26 June 1810) and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier (6 January 1745 – 2 August 1799) were the inventors of the Montgolfière-style hot air balloon, globe aérostatique. The brothers succeeded in launching the first piloted ascent, carrying Étienne into the sky. On 4 June, the Montgolfier brothers demonstrated their unmanned hot air balloon at Annonay, France. The brothers decided to make a public demonstration of a balloon to establish their claim to its invention. They constructed a globe-shaped balloon of sackcloth with three thin layers of paper inside. The envelope could contain nearly 790 m³ (28,000 cubic feet) of air and weighed 225 kg (500 lb). It was constructed of four pieces (the dome and three lateral bands) and held together by 1,800 buttons. A reinforcing fish net of cord covered the outside of the envelope.

                                       First public demonstration in Annonay, 4 June 1783

On 4 June 1783, they flew this craft as their first public demonstration at Annonay in front of a group of dignitaries from the États particuliers. Its flight covered 2 km (1.2 mi), lasted 10 minutes, and had an estimated altitude of 1,600-2,000 m (5,200-6,600 ft). Word of their success quickly reached Paris. Étienne went to the capital to make further demonstrations and to solidify the brothers' claim to the invention of flight. Joseph, given his unkempt appearance and shyness, remained with the family. Étienne was the epitome of sober virtues ... modest in clothes and manner.... In collaboration with the successful wallpaper manufacturer Jean-Baptiste Réveillon, Étienne constructed a 37,500-cubic-foot (1,060 m3) envelope of taffeta coated with a varnish of alum (which has fireproofing properties). The balloon was sky blue and decorated with golden flourishes, signs of the zodiac, and suns. The design showed the intervention of Réveillon. The next test was on the 11th of September from the grounds of la Folie Titon, close to Réveillon's house. There was some concern about the effects of flight into the upper atmosphere on living creatures. The king proposed to launch two convicted criminals, but it is most likely that the inventors decided to send a sheep, a duck, and a rooster aloft first.

On the 19th of September 1783, the Aérostat Réveillon was flown with the first living beings in a basket attached to the balloon: a sheep called Montauciel ("Climb-to-the-sky"), a duck and a rooster. The sheep was believed to have a reasonable approximation of human physiology. The duck was expected to be unharmed by being lifted aloft. It was included as a control for effects created by the aircraft rather than the altitude. The rooster was included as a further control as it was a bird that did not fly at high altitudes. This demonstration was performed before a crowd at the royal palace in Versailles, before King Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette. The flight lasted approximately eight minutes, covered two miles (3 km), and obtained an altitude of about 1,500 feet (460 m). The craft landed safely after flying.

1799 AD - (First fixed-wing aircraft)

Sir George Cayley was first called the "father of the aeroplane" in 1846. During the last years of the previous century he had begun the first rigorous study of the physics of flight and would later design the first modern heavier-than-air craft. Among his many achievements, his most important contributions to aeronautics include:
Clarifying our ideas and laying down the principles of heavier-than-air flight.
Reaching a scientific understanding of the principles of bird flight.
Conducting scientific aerodynamic experiments demonstrating drag and streamlining, movement of the centre of pressure, and the increase in lift from curving the wing surface.
Defining the modern aeroplane configuration comprising a fixed wing, fuselage and tail assembly.
Demonstrations of manned, gliding flight.
Setting out the principles of power-to-weight ratio in sustaining flight.

Cayley's first innovation was to study the basic science of lift by adopting the whirling arm test rig for use in aircraft research and using simple aerodynamic models on the arm, rather than attempting to fly a model of a complete design.

In 1799 he set down the concept of the modern aeroplane as a fixed-wing flying machine with separate systems for lift, propulsion, and control.

In 1804 Cayley constructed a model glider which was the first modern heavier-than-air flying machine, having the layout of a conventional modern aircraft with an inclined wing towards the front and adjustable tail at the back with both tailplane and fin. A movable weight allowed adjustment of the model's centre of gravity.

In 1809, goaded by the farcical antics of his contemporaries (see above), he began the publication of a landmark three-part treatise titled "On Aerial Navigation" (1809–1810). In it he wrote the first scientific statement of the problem, "The whole problem is confined within these limits, viz. to make a surface support a given weight by the application of power to the resistance of air." He identified the four vector forces that influence an aircraft: thrust, lift, drag and weight and distinguished stability and control in his designs. He also identified and described the importance of thecambered aerofoil, dihedral, diagonal bracing and drag reduction, and contributed to the understanding and design of ornithopters andparachutes.

In 1848 he had progressed far enough to construct a glider in the form of a triplane large and safe enough to carry a child. A local boy was chosen but his name is not known.

He went on to publish in 1852 the design for a full-size manned glider or "governable parachute" to be launched from a balloon and then to construct a version capable of launching from the top of a hill, which carried the first adult aviator across Brompton Dale in 1853.

Governable parachute design of 1852

Minor inventions included the rubber-powered motor, which provided a reliable power source for research models. By 1808 he had even re-invented the wheel, devising the tension-spoked wheel in which all compression loads are carried by the rim, allowing a lightweight undercarriage.

1843 AD -(The first plans for a steam-driven airplane)

William S. Henson, a British inventor, patented plans for a steam-driven airplane.

The aerial steam carriage, also named Ariel, was a flying machine patented in 1842 that was supposed to carry passengers into the air. It was, in practice, incapable of flight since it had insufficient power from its heavy steam engine to fly. A more successful model was built in 1848 which was able to fly for small distances within a hangar. The aerial steam carriage was significant because it was a transition from glider experimentation to powered flight experimentation.

Patent drawing for the Henson Aerial Steam Carriage of 1843

The Henson Aerial Steam Carriage of 1843

1891 AD -(Glider King)

Otto Lilienthal became known as the "Glider King" or "Flying Man" of Germany. He duplicated Wenham's work and greatly expanded on it in 1884, publishing his research in 1889 as Birdflight as the Basis of Aviation (Der Vogelflug als Grundlage der Fliegekunst). He also produced a series of hang gliders, including bat-wing, monoplane and biplane forms, such as the Derwitzer Glider and Normal soaring apparatus. Starting in 1891 he became the first person to make controlled untethered glides routinely, and the first to be photographed flying a heavier-than-air machine, stimulating interest around the world. He rigorously documented his work, including photographs, and for this reason is one of the best known of the early pioneers. Lilienthal made over 2,000 glides until his death in 1896 from injuries sustained in a glider crash.

Lilienthal in mid-flight,  1895

1896 AD-(First Powered Aircraft)

Samuel Langley tested a stem-powered airdrome that flew for about half a mile.

After a distinguished career in astronomy and shortly before becoming Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Samuel Pierpont Langleystarted a serious investigation into aerodynamics at what is today the University of Pittsburgh. In 1891 he published Experiments in Aerodynamics detailing his research, and then turned to building his designs. He hoped to achieve automatic aerodynamic stability, so he gave little consideration to in-flight control.On May 6, 1896, Langley's Aerodrome No. 5 made the first successful sustained flight of an unpiloted, engine-driven heavier-than-air craft of substantial size. It was launched from a spring-actuated catapult mounted on top of a houseboat on the Potomac River near Quantico, Virginia. Two flights were made that afternoon, one of 1,005 metres (3,297 ft) and a second of 700 metres (2,300 ft), at a speed of approximately 25 miles per hour (40 km/h). On both occasions the Aerodrome No. 5 landed in the water as planned, because in order to save weight, it was not equipped with landing gear. On November 28, 1896, another successful flight was made with the Aerodrome No. 6. This flight, of 1,460 metres (4,790 ft), was witnessed and photographed by Alexander Graham Bell. The Aerodrome No. 6 was actually Aerodrome No. 4 greatly modified. So little remained of the original aircraft that it was given a new designation.

With the successes of the Aerodrome No. 5 and No. 6, Langley started looking for funding to build a full-scale man-carrying version of his designs. Spurred by the Spanish–American War, the U.S. government granted him $50,000 to develop a man-carrying flying machine for aerial reconnaissance. Langley planned on building a scaled-up version known as the Aerodrome A, and started with the smaller Quarter-scale Aerodrome, which flew twice on June 18, 1901, and then again with a newer and more powerful engine in 1903.

First failure of the manned Aerodrome, Potomac River, Oct. 7, 1903

1903 AD -(
First engine-powered, heavier-than-air flights)

Orville and Wilbur Wright make first powered, sustained, and controlled flight in a heavier-than-air flying machine. With Orville Wright as pilot, the airplane took off from a launching rail and flew for 12 seconds and a distance of 37 meters (120 feet). The airplane was flown three more times that day, with Orville and his brother Wilbur alternating as pilot. The longest flight, with Wilbur at the controls, was 260 meters (852 feet) and lasted 59 seconds.

Using a methodological approach and concentrating on the controllability of the aircraft, the brothers built and tested a series of kite and glider designs from 1900 to 1902 before attempting to build a powered design. The gliders worked, but not as well as the Wrights had expected based on the experiments and writings of their 19th-century predecessors. Their first glider, launched in 1900, had only about half the lift they anticipated. Their second glider, built the following year, performed even more poorly. Rather than giving up, the Wrights constructed their own wind tunnel and created a number of sophisticated devices to measure lift and drag on the 200 wing designs they tested.As a result, the Wrights corrected earlier mistakes in calculations regarding drag and lift. Their testing and calculating produced a third glider with a higher aspect ratio and true three-axis control. They flew it successfully hundreds of times in 1902, and it performed far better than the previous models. By using a rigorous system of experimentation, involving wind-tunnel testing of airfoils and flight testing of full-size prototypes, the Wrights not only built a working aircraft, the Wright Flyer, but also helped advance the science of aeronautical engineering.

The 1900 glider. No photo was taken with a pilot aboard.

Orville with the 1901 glider, its nose pointed skyward; it had no tail.

Wilbur just after landing the 1901 glider. Glider skid marks are visible behind it, and marks from a previous landing are seen in front; Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

Wilbur Wright pilots the1902 glider over the Kill Devil Hills, October 10, 1902. The single rear rudder is steerable; it replaced the original fixed double rudder.

Wilbur makes a turn using wing-warping and the movable rudder, October 24, 1902.

First flight of the Wright Flyer I, December 17, 1903, Orville piloting, Wilbur running at wingtip. With Orville Wright as pilot, the airplane took off from a launching rail and flew for 12 seconds and a distance of 37 meters (120 feet).

1904 Flyer II  ,Wilbur &Orville talking to each other.

Wilbur flying almost four circles of Huffman Prairie, about 2 3⁄4 miles in 5 minutes 4 seconds; flight #82, November 9, 1904.

Orville in flight over Huffman Prairie in Wright Flyer II. Flight #85, approximately 1,760 feet (536 m) in 40 1⁄5 seconds, November 16, 1904.


Wright Flyer III piloted by Orville over Huffman Prairie, October 4, 1905. Flight #46, covering 20 3⁄4 miles in 33 minutes 17 seconds; last photographed flight of the year

The modified 1905 Flyer at the Kill Devil Hills in 1908, ready for practice flights. Note there is no catapult derrick; all takeoffs were used with the monorail alone.

Orville demonstrating the flyer to theU.S. Army, Fort Myer, Virginia September 1908. Photo: by C.H. Claudy.

The Wrights appear to be the first to make serious studied attempts to simultaneously solve the power and control problems. Both problems proved difficult, but they never lost interest. They solved the control problem by inventing wing warping for roll control, combined with simultaneous yaw control with a steerable rear rudder. Almost as an afterthought, they designed and built a low-powered internal combustion engine. They also designed and carved wooden propellers that were more efficient than any before, enabling them to gain adequate performance from their low engine power. Although wing-warping as a means of lateral control was used only briefly during the early history of aviation, the principle of combining lateral control in combination with a rudder was a key advance in aircraft control. While many aviation pioneers appeared to leave safety largely to chance, the Wrights' design was greatly influenced by the need to teach themselves to fly without unreasonable risk to life and limb, by surviving crashes. This emphasis, as well as low engine power, was the reason for low flying speed and for taking off in a head wind. Performance, rather than safety, was the reason for the rear-heavy design, because the canard could not be highly loaded; anhedral wings were less affected by crosswinds and were consistent with the low yaw stability.

According to the Smithsonian Institution and Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI),the Wrights made the first sustained, controlled, powered heavier-than-air manned flight at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, four miles (8 km) south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903.

The first flight by Orville Wright, of 120 feet (37 m) in 12 seconds, was recorded in a famous photograph. In the fourth flight of the same day, Wilbur Wright flew 852 feet (260 m) in 59 seconds. The flights were witnessed by three coastal lifesaving crewmen, a local businessman, and a boy from the village, making these the first public flights and the first well-documented ones.

Orville described the final flight of the day: "The first few hundred feet were up and down, as before, but by the time three hundred feet had been covered, the machine was under much better control. The course for the next four or five hundred feet had but little undulation. However, when out about eight hundred feet the machine began pitching again, and, in one of its darts downward, struck the ground. The distance over the ground was measured to be 852 feet (260 m); the time of the flight was 59 seconds. The frame supporting the front rudder was badly broken, but the main part of the machine was not injured at all. We estimated that the machine could be put in condition for flight again in about a day or two."  They flew only about ten feet above the ground as a safety precaution, so they had little room to maneuver, and all four flights in the gusty winds ended in a bumpy and unintended "landing". Modern analysis by Professor Fred E. C. Culick and Henry R. Rex (1985) has demonstrated that the 1903 Wright Flyer was so unstable as to be almost unmanageable by anyone but the Wrights, who had trained themselves in the 1902 glider.

The Wrights continued flying at Huffman Prairie near Dayton, Ohio in 1904–05. In May 1904 they introduced the Flyer II, a heavier and improved version of the original Flyer. On June 23, 1905 they first flew a third machine, the Flyer III. After a severe crash on 14 July 1905, they rebuilt the Flyer III and made important design changes. They almost doubled the size of the elevator and rudder and moved them about twice the distance from the wings. They added two fixed vertical vanes (called "blinkers") between the elevators, and gave the wings a very slight dihedral. They disconnected the rudder from the wing-warping control, and as in all future aircraft, placed it on a separate control handle. When flights resumed the results were immediate. The serious pitch instability that hampered Flyers I and II was significantly reduced, so repeated minor crashes were eliminated. Flights with the redesigned Flyer III started lasting over 10 minutes, then 20, then 30. Flyer III became the first practical aircraft (though without wheels and needing a launching device), flying consistently under full control and bringing its pilot back to the starting point safely and landing without damage. On 5 October 1905, Wilbur flew 24 miles (39 km) in 39 minutes 23 seconds."

Original 1903 Wright Flyer in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Original 1903 Wright Flyer in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

According to the April 1907 issue of the Scientific American magazine, the Wright brothers seemed to have the most advanced knowledge of heavier-than-air navigation at the time. However, the same magazine issue also claimed that no public flight had been made in the United States before its April 1907 issue. Hence, they devised the Scientific American Aeronautic Trophy in order to encourage the development of a heavier-than-air flying machine.